Contruent Blog

Top 7 Australian Megaprojects for 2023

Fueled by abundant natural resources and a growing population, Australia is in the midst of an unprecedented construction boom. While factors like elevated inflation, interest rates and construction costs are expected to impact residential buildings this year, the construction sector as a whole is still on the rise. In fact, forecasts predict the industry will grow by more than 5% annually over the next five years, comprising 9% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

But it’s not just multi-million dollar projects they’re building — today’s complicated mega-construction projects cost upwards of billions, as they often have to weave through existing urban infrastructure and even residential streets.

In 2021, we covered several diverse developments already underway in Australia, including the Cross River Rail and the Snowy 2.0 renewable energy project. This year, we’re covering some of the largest ventures to look out for in 2023 and beyond. From railways and roads to new tunnel systems designed to alleviate traffic congestion, the scope and scale of these developments are truly impressive.

7 Megaprojects Currently Under Construction in 2023

Here are the top seven mega construction projects currently underway in Australia:

1. Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan (New South Wales)

The Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan (WSIP) is a 10-year, $4.4 billion investment in the infrastructure of the western Sydney region. Jointly funded by the State of New South Wales and the Australian Government, the development aims to make key road improvements to keep pace with the growing population and accommodate the future Western Sydney Airport

This mega infrastructure project includes plans for several major roadways in the region, including:

  • The Northern Road ($1.6 billion): Upgraded 35 km of roadway to a minimum of four lanes.
  • The Bringelly Road ($509 million): Improved approximately 10 km of roadway between Camden Valley Way and The Northern Road.
  • M12 Motor Way ($2.04 billion): Provided an east-west link between the M7 motorway and The Northern Road.
  • Werrington Arterial Road ($52 million): Widened the road, improved the intersection and built new entry and exit ramps.
  • Glenbrook Intersection at Ross Street ($5.6 million): Upgraded the Great Western Highway and Ross Street Intersection to provide safe access.
  • Local Roads Package ($200 million): Enables Western Sydney councils to complete minor road improvement works in the area.

Currently, WSIP is nearing 100% completion, with everything but the Local Roads Package already finished. As the final rounds conclude, it will be interesting to see how the project follows through on its goals to improve connectivity and boost the local economy.

2. Bruce Highway Upgrade Program (Queensland)

Bruce Highway is a vitally important corridor spanning nearly 1,700 km between Brisbane and Port Douglas and connecting the major coastal areas to the rest of Queensland. Not only does it enable regular transportation, but it also supports the freight industry, which moves products from inland regions to ports and other population centres. 

The Bruce Highway Upgrade Program began in 2013, with an expected completion date of around June 2028. This 15-year, $8.5 billion project aims to:

  • Enhance highway safety by implementing wide centreline treatments, intersection improvements and safety barriers.
  • Improve flood resilience and immunity by raising bridges and upgrading sections prone to frequent flooding.
  • Increase highway capacity to enhance the service level and economic opportunity the transportation corridor provides.

After 10 years of delivering consistent upgrades along the highway, the Bruce Highway Upgrade Program is on track to finish by 2028 — though the Australian Government will likely add more projects to the scope as work continues.

3. METRONET (Western Australia)

As the single largest public transport investment in Perth’s history, METRONET is an ambitious vision to transform the region into a new and improved, highly connected place to live, work and unwind. However, it isn’t without controversy.

Initial estimates placed the construction project’s budget around $2 to $3 billion, but that number has since ballooned to around $10 billion — which some say could impact future State budgets. With about 72 km of new passenger rail and 23 new stations to construct across 8,000 hectares of land, it’s easy to see why the program has become so expensive. But where is the money going exactly?

Beyond the four developments already completed, the first stage of METRONET will include the following projects:

  • Byford Rail Extension.
  • Claremont Station.
  • Multi-Storey Car Park and Greenwood Station.
  • High Capacity Signalling.
  • Light Rail Inner City Transit.
  • Karnup Station.
  • Lakelands Station.
  • Mid-Tier Transport Planning.
  • Morely-Ellenbrook Line.
  • Morrison Road Level Crossing.
  • New Bayswater Station.
  • New Midland Station.
  • Thornlie-Cockburn Link.
  • Removing the Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing.
  • WA Railcar Program.
  • Yanchep Rail Extension.

As planning and construction continue despite cost overruns, METRONET is expected to bring myriad benefits to the region, from business and job opportunities to housing diversity and increased use of public transportation.

4. West Gate Tunnel (Victoria)

Set to complete in 2025, the West Gate Tunnel Project is a massive infrastructure project currently under construction in Melbourne. Plans include building a new bridge crossing the Maribyrnong River, a new road above Footscray Road and, of course, two, three-lane tunnels under the Yarra River.

Originally, the development was scoped at $6.7 billion, but the cost surged to $10 billion when workers uncovered toxic soil deposits along the route. This caused tunnelling operations to grind to a halt while the Victoria State Government and Transurban debated on who would pay to remove the contamination. Ultimately, they agreed to split the costs in 2022, restarting construction on the tunnel.

Once it’s complete, the West Gate Tunnel will offer motorists a new way to cross the river, easing traffic congestion on the West Gate Bridge while moving large trucks away from residential streets.

5. Melbourne Metro Tunnel (Victoria)

The Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project is another monumental, $12.58 billion infrastructure project in Victoria. This underground rail system aims to untangle the City Loop, connecting Sunbury to Cranbourne and Pakenham with a new end-to-end train line and state-of-the-art signalling technology. As a result, the Metro Tunnel will increase efficiency and capacity to accommodate the millions of people who use public transport each week in Melbourne.

The finished rail tunnel will include the following construction projects:

  • Two, three-lane tunnels that are 9 km each to connect the southeast and west sides of the city.
  • Five new underground stations at Arden, Parkville, Domain and CBD, connecting to the City Loop.
  • A new train/tram interchange at Domain.
  • Implementing high-capacity signalling to maximise fleet efficiency.

While the budget has grown since the initially scoped $11 billion, the Metro Tunnel is still on track to finish construction by 2025.

6. Adelaide’s North-South Corridor (South Australia)

Adelaide’s North-South Corridor in South Australia is a major infrastructure investment, estimated at $15.4 billion. Once complete, the 78 km-long transportation corridor will run from Darlington to the River Torrens, including four, three-lane tunnels that connect in an open motorway. The project will also realign a nearby portion of South Road.

Funded by the South Australian and Federal Governments, the North-South Corridor will be split into two stages (ANZAC Highway to Darlington and River Torrens to ANZAC Highway), including upgrades to the:

  • Southern Expressway.
  • Darlington.
  • Torrens Road to River Torrens.
  • Regency Road to Pym Street.
  • South Road Superway.
  • Northern Connector.
  • Northern Expressway.

The goal is to provide a non-stop, dedicated thoroughfare for traffic passing through Adelaide, and the project has already completed 44 km of the motorway. Not only will this reduce traffic congestion and improve travel efficiency, but it will also increase roadway safety.

7. Sydney Metro (New South Wales)

Formerly known as the North West Rail Link, Sydney Metro is set to be Australia’s largest public transportation project ever at $25 billion — that’s more than double the original $12 billion budget. 

This immense megaproject is divided into two stages:

1. Sydney Metro Northwest:

Stage 1 includes excavation, tunnelling and construction between Westmead and The Bays Precinct. This will consist of twin tunnels, approximately 24 km long, and eight new stations connecting Westmead and CBD. 

2. Sydney Metro City and Southwest:

Stage 2 will extend Sydney Metro Northwest to reach Chatswood with a 30 km rail expansion. 

Both stages are expected to complete in 2024, but cost overruns and budget constraints might cause future delays. However, if everything goes according to plan, Sydney will have a total of 31 metro stations along its 66 km of independent metro railways.

Building the Future: Top 5 Most Expensive Megaprojects

Top 5 Most Expensive Megaprojects in Australia under construction

Unlock the Full Potential of Your Megaproject With Contruent

As Australia undergoes a massive infrastructure boom, Contruent is here to help manage the complexity of your megaprojects.

Contruent Enterprise is an innovative capital project management solution designed to help you optimise spend and performance, control project costs and maximise efficiency out of the box. In addition to project and cost management across the end-to-end lifecycle, we also help organisations meet Infrastructure Australia guidelines to stay compliant.

Request a demo to discover how Contruent can transform your organization’s project management today.